Thursday, September 08, 2016


Well, it being the 50th Anniversary year to the day that Star Trek aired; Sept 8th, 1966, has me reminiscing about the genesis of my own career as an actor, and performer.  I was still pretty young when Star Trek was first aired, and I actually probably first saw it only after it aired in syndication.  I loved that opening theme, with Shatner's voice over and the launch of the Enterprise towards me, matched with the swell of the Alexander Courage's composition, so unearthly, siren like calling and beckoning, and that beat behind... pure fantasy. Sometimes it was too much and I would leave the room scared and run back in with equal excitement.  Anyways, like the 66 Batman series, Star Trek was so much a part of my play impulse as a child, the action and excitement pulled me in, and I would replay the show in my room, or back yard, saying all the lines of dialogue I could remember.  Then came Kirk's stunts, his double Kick was a tough one and demanded a lot of practice, it started on the bed of course built in trampoline right there, eventually I worked my way up to a solid ground for take off and landing.
A few years back I had an interview for a bit of PR with an independent,  there's no active link so here's an excerpt relating to Star Trek many years after practicing those double kicks. 
In his own words: 
Q: So looking at your bio, you've done some interesting roles, what do you feel contributes to the kind of range and roles you've performed?
A:  Hmmm, well, I feel I was very lucky to have started out with a comedy troupe.  It felt a little high wire at the time because it was like scripted improv in many ways, in fact we managed quite a following for ourselves based around the popular TV series and icons of Star Trek... and we called this monster A Celebration of Star Trek...  and we might have lacked a certain kind of legality while doing it (laughs) because we basically took the entire script, transcribing it  by watching the episode and then put it on stage, directed, with props, and performed it live... what was once presented on TV.
Q: When was this? 
A: Early 90's... ish... internet was just loading (laughs) 
Q: (I laugh) Wasn't there groups being shut down at the time?   
A: Well, yeah... that wasn't us.
Q: Was this your idea? 
A: Not getting shut down?  Sure.  (laughs)  Actually, this super creative guy; Michael McKinlay, who had already breathed life and spirit into the London Theatre scene with Soap on a Rope and a legit theatre called TheatreFaux as well, well he was also the brainchild behind this whole Star Trek shootin' match, he was always musing that we'd get shut down, 'cause as you just mentioned it had happened to a troupe in Toronto, and Trek was in the papers with the birth of Trekkies and Shatner's famous "get a life" quote, and those guys in Toronto weren't using actual Roddenberry stories or DC Fontana scripts!   They were pretty broad and playing with the whole thing a bit too much on the cheap side, we played it straight so the humour came out of a love, plus we were in London, and so maybe that helped us fly under the radar.
Q: You're pretty lit  up.
A: Yeah well, halcyon days! In those early days... man, some of the more eclectic and intimate venues we played included not only the local bars, but our first performance was the underground garage of the building TheatreFaux was renting on Richmond Street in London, next to Joe Kools, (I think Kools is still there in London)  I mean you know your passions are lit when you're using car headlights for stage lighting (laughs) we were cutting our teeth you know, as performers and actors, with 200 people lined up and then crammed into this garage!  Awww man it was wild, (laughs) We had this keyboard player doing the music live, and a guy, Marco Burak; I think it was, running through the crowd, with a model of the Enterprise on a bike helmut, while the theme played.  
Q: Sounds hilarious.
A: Aww man, I can still feel the rush... so in a short time we were invited to perform at the Second City space on their dark nights, and we continued to grow quite a following along the way, we ran for years, and our performances sold out every monday! So once a week we were like the Kings of the London Entertainment scene.   
Q: Who did you play.  
A: Well, some of my favourites were Kirk's double and Bones, we even moved on to TNG, and I got to play Data and Picard.  Our credits would read something like; PHI BULANI as Brent Spiner as Lt Data.
Q: Funny! Tell me about this next thing? 

So there it is the beginning of my self reflection about the impact of Star Trek on it's 50th Anniversary, and while it wasn't the first thing I ever performed, for me those were Halcyon days, and I owe them all to to this glorious phenomenon known as Star Trek. 


#StarTrek50  #LiveLongAndProsper #ActorsLife #Batman66

Head shot Photo Credit: Denise Grant Photography

No comments: